Plan to trap feral hogs and feed them to Houston's hungry

Plan would capture feral hogs in Harris County and process the meat to distribute through the Houston Food Bank
April 23, 2014 4:35:58 PM PDT
A plan is being put into place that would both rid local areas of property-destroying feral hogs, and feed Houston's hungry at the same time.

County Commissioner Steve Radack says this is a "gift from God." He's behind the program which he says solves two problems -- feeding the hungry with feral hogs.

For years Harris County has been looking for a better way to get the hogs under control in and around George Bush and Congressman Bill Archer parks. They've caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage to property in neighborhoods nearby as they root for food.

"There may be as many as 8,000 to 10,000 feral hogs in each of the reservoirs," said Mike McMahon with the Harris County Commissioner's Precinct 3 Office.

On Thursday Harris County commissioners signed off on the purchase of four large, mobile pens to capture the hogs. The wild pigs will then be taken to J and J Processing in Brookshire, where they will be inspected, slaughtered and packaged. The meat will all be sent to the Houston Food Bank.

Some are reportedly concerned about diseases which the hogs may carry. But at the processing facility, they point out that harvesting of the animal will occur just the same as any other meat, and it will be watched by an onsite USDA inspector.

At the Houston Food Bank, they're excited about all the food this will mean on their freezer shelves for distribution. Each hog they say can produce an average of 40 pounds of meat. The county estimates it will be able to trap 2,500 wild pigs in the first year.

"This is a huge win for everybody in all the communities that we serve," said Dr. Pamela Berger with the Houston Food Bank.

The new program begins in mid-May.

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